Isolation Drills: Erin Fox

Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.

Fox: I think like a lot of folks, my pandemic experience has been a series of ups and downs. It started on a downswing because my family was already going through a lot. The silver lining in this whole thing is the new perspective and, perhaps, the new opportunity for quiet introspection and reflection it brought once everything was completely on pause.

Prior to all of this, I was in a pattern of sort of skating and ignoring anything that I was facing internally by remaining constantly in motion—even if that motion was just inertia. I guess I subconsciously had this idea that if I kept myself constantly busy and exhausted, I never really had to face any of my demons when I was finally alone.

However, this time I was forced to sit with my own discomfort each day via the most intense of emotions and insecurities I have all because live music completely vanished for a while. It amplified my already extreme depression and just contributed to it a compound lack of motivation.

When winter was on its way out, I cleaned up the patio next to my house and created a little garden space. Nurturing plants took me outside of myself and helped bring me back to some level of emotional functionality.

I was also able to finally piece together enough decent equipment to be able to record music from my bedroom. It proved to be one of the most healing and rewarding experiences of my life. It ultimately led to the completion of my new album, Fuzzy Logic. Recording in a studio or traditional setting around other people has given me insufferable anxiety in the past. Being by myself throughout most of the process was therapeutic on an entirely new level.

My friends and my partner pitched in to help me find a way to keep our annual charity festival for the American Brain Tumor Association going: BrainFest. We held it virtually using Facebook Live and will do so again this year on May 30. All proceeds will benefit the ABTA.

I don’t believe it’s the fact that there’s a pandemic happening, in itself, that’s phased me, because I’m pretty used to things being relatively chaotic as a baseline. It’s the thing that has always kept me going being gone, at least temporarily; another reminder that everything can be temporary—how all the foundations in place for everyday life can suddenly disengage at any moment because of one ripple in the universe.

This time has also placed a giant magnifying glass on the social plagues of our society—especially in how we’ve treated each other. The standstill has allowed so many people to stop and see/acknowledge the long line of injustices faced by marginalized communities (Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, LGBTQ+, differently abled, etc.) and what can no longer be ignored by others.

It’s forced many to do some more inner reflection, and I like to think it’s promising to see more people becoming aware and willing to work toward righting wrongs that should’ve never been. It’s a continuous journey of learning and unlearning, but it’s certainly made me contemplate how I want to do more and do better.